Do you see the elephant?

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There is an elephant in the room in Augusta. While current leadership seems fixed on how to bring people to the downtown area, Augusta is not growing. According to census data from 2000 to 2010, Augusta experienced three-tenths of 1 percent growth while Columbia County’s population grew 40 percent. Richmond County is struggling to find adequate revenue to improve police and fire protection, sanitation, infrastructure, education, etc. If we don’t grow, this situation only gets more precarious.

Do leaders of Augusta see this? What is their plan to grow this community? They spend months talking about the city’s golf course when the real question is: How do we convince families to move here as we compete against Martinez and Evans? It’s a tough sell. Move to Augusta where the property taxes are higher, crime is significantly greater and schools produce considerably lower results vs. our neighboring county of Columbia. Hello! Does anyone see the elephant?

Recently, Augusta Commissioner Marion Williams stated that crime is everywhere, and we do not have a problem. Recently, education leaders touted improved test scores without mentioning that Columbia County scores exceed our county by a significant margin. This, while Richmond spends $1,200 per student more. Is this the plan – deny and mislead?

People will not locate here in this environment. Building a ballpark downtown, a veranda on Broad Street or placing lights on Riverwalk Augusta will not energize families to move to Augusta. Certainly the caustic environment presented each week at commission meetings gets us nowhere. My fear is that the current leadership stomachs the prevailing conditions and rejects the need for historic boldness. Currently we, at best, are managing mediocrity. In any case, 10 more years of zero growth and the current stagnation will become poisonous.

You cannot fix what you won’t acknowledge. I am a retired high-school teacher who lives in the Harrisburg area. I love it here and wish more citizens would move here.

Barry Cook

Augusta

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specsta
6592
Points
specsta 08/31/13 - 03:09 am
15
1
Different Thinking

There is no leader or visionary to make changes in this city. Until someone comes along (and no one currently running for Mayor would qualify as a visionary), the city will continue to stagnate.

Augusta needs to be rebuilt. The job required would be a total gutting of this ineffective government, starting over from scratch.

Get some folks that know how to market the city out there to represent Augusta. Tear down that decades-old eyesore called the James Brown Arena and build a world-class arena. Stop making buildings downtown out of those ugly red bricks. Build a major attraction (amusement park, water park, classy nightclub venues) on the Regency Mall property. Demolish every old dilapidated building in the urban core.

In other words, DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!

allhans
24009
Points
allhans 08/31/13 - 03:24 am
11
1
I don't see amusement as a

I don't see amusement as a priority. Crime, unemployment, children on the streets and not in school....too much to list.

Young Fred
17860
Points
Young Fred 08/31/13 - 04:15 am
11
3
I'm not sure were to start.

I'm not sure were to start. Augusta is a lost cause, as far as moving families that care about their children Is concerned. Martinez, Evans, etal is where it is at. I hate it as much as the next guy, but facts is facts! Informed people know the reason!

seenitB4
90855
Points
seenitB4 08/31/13 - 04:56 am
8
2
Can't see the elephant

They see but can't compute---so let me..

Robbed while working in your garage
Beaten while sitting on a bench/Riverwalk
Videos of punks outside your home/south augusta
Schools not performing
Constant chaos in giverment
NO LEADER in sight
Loose as a goose with tax money

Many more but I think ya get my drift

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 08/31/13 - 05:44 am
5
5
too much democratic influence

The democratic party promotes sin so cities with the most democratic influence have the most problems. Morals are always the core of every problem. Also Richmond county had the draw alcohol for many years before Columbia county. This draws the alcohol dependent and lower morals crowd. Columbia county is now in the catch up mode for these kind of folks as they voted dollars over morals. What Columbia county didn't choose to research is that for every dollar of tax revenue from alcohol the cost is about eight dollars. They had a perfect example next door of the problems of going wet but they were too foolish to figure it out. There is a reason for everything and the curse without a cause does not come.

myfather15
55764
Points
myfather15 08/31/13 - 07:34 am
6
3
Possiblity?

Augusta=Little Detroit??

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 08/31/13 - 08:15 am
7
2
"Augusta needs to be
Unpublished

"Augusta needs to be rebuilt."
specsta, it is rebuilding with more and more section 8 housing. Can you spell Detroit?

deestafford
28713
Points
deestafford 08/31/13 - 08:34 am
10
0
Good letter; however, I don't think it really addressed the

largest pachyderm in the dwelling and that is---racial divide! There seems to be the attitude of some, not all thankfully, blacks in power that "whitey had his and now it's our time." It's more about some of the black commissioner "peacocking," "blustering," and playing to the home folks in the 'hood rather than being a visionary for the city. Until, if it can be, that is solved things will continue to go down hill for Richmond County and the major part of the city of Augusta.

Thankfully, for the CSRA there is West Augusta, Martinez, Columbia county Evans, Ft Gordon, Aiken, and Graniteville to prop up the image of the area. Without them the area would not rank nearly as well as it does in many categories.

Little Lamb
46969
Points
Little Lamb 08/31/13 - 08:43 am
9
0
Private Property

Specsta posted:

Build a major attraction (amusement park, water park, classy nightclub venues) on the Regency Mall property.

I don't think that would change the growth patterns that Specsta moans on about; but I have no problem with something being built there, as long as the owner of the property builds what he wants to build voluntarily and at his own expense. Regency Mall is private property. City government does not need to stick its nose into the owner's business.

Little Lamb
46969
Points
Little Lamb 08/31/13 - 08:45 am
8
0
Classy

Build classy nightclub venues on Regency Mall property? Isn't that like putting a silk purse on a sow’s ear? They wouldn't stay classy very long.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 08/31/13 - 08:48 am
7
1
Little Lamb, according to the
Unpublished

Little Lamb, according to the likes of Specsta, the government should take over everything, because they always know better than the private individual.

Little Lamb
46969
Points
Little Lamb 08/31/13 - 08:48 am
4
1
Water Park

Build a water park on Regency Mall property? They only operate from May to September. Half the year they're cold and dark. Is there a single successful water park operating in Georgia? Please tell me. I'd like to go, but I'm not aware of one.

Little Lamb
46969
Points
Little Lamb 08/31/13 - 08:50 am
4
1
Amusement Park

Build an amusement park on Regency Mall property? I'm sure that will have the owners of Six Flags Over Georgia and the owners of Carowinds quaking in their boots.

Little Lamb
46969
Points
Little Lamb 08/31/13 - 09:17 am
6
1
Growth

If Augusta government ever follows its delusion and passes the rain tax, you will see not growth, but shrinkage. The rain tax is designed to impose the tax on the percentage of impervious surface a property plat has. Most of our factories, the engine of Augusta, have a high percentage of rooftop and parking lot. They will be hit hard by the rain tax. Some of them will have no choice but to close.

Likewise, look at our strip malls and restaurants. They are normally over 90% impervious surface. They will be hit hard by the rain tax. First they will lay off a few workers, then they will raise prices, causing a further fall-off in customers. Some will inevitably close. The rain tax is a downward spiral. Urge your commissioner to forget the idea.

myfather15
55764
Points
myfather15 08/31/13 - 09:00 am
6
1
LL

Well, I'm not sure how successful it is; but there is a waterpark in Statesboro (Splash in the Boro). I've been there several times and it seems to be pretty crowded. A little TOO crowded at times. You would probably enjoy it, I did!!

But, if anyone believes I would go to a waterpark at the site of the old mall; you're very wrong!! That is, unless the owner hired Sheriff's Deputies to do security at ALL times and kept the gang bangers from hanging around on the property!!

nocnoc
45017
Points
nocnoc 08/31/13 - 09:00 am
9
0
Way too much time and revenue is WASTED

Trying to Rebuild a failing Down Town business concept.

In the 1970's Downtown Augusta had already started a slow death rattle with the Build up of Washington Rd., Martintown Rd. and then the 1st Mall was built and then a 2nd. Then people figured out Columbia Co. was closer to everything or they had it there in North Augusta.

Then Augusta went politically crazy with open graft, shady land deals and more.

Then it was 1 stupid SAVE DOWN TOWN Revitalization Idea after another. Making some rich on taxpayer $$$$, while nothing good happen to replace the wasted revenue.

I have been blogging here over a year and it quickly became obvious to me, Consolidation was designed to prop up the Downtown Money Pit and political handouts. an it was not getting a fair shake in return.

How SPLOST's do we have now?
How many are or have become DOWNTOWN laser Focused Projects?

Just what percentage of revenue is collected from Outside Gordon Hwy and piped in to Downtown. Verses how much is collected Downtown and shared with Outside Gordon Hwy.

Could Downtown survive without the County tax revenue? NO and we know it.

I have said it before, we need to get out of the DOWNTOWN Augusta concept of Government and start centralizing the Government.

Quit building Down Town Government buildings, and start thinking closer to the Center of a 30+ mile across county.

Quit spending Millions in rehab of 50-60 y/o Pre-EPA & code GOV buildings. Build NEW energy efficient buildings.

Quit wasting $$$$$ on Gardens, for stadiums attempts, golf courses, parking decks, and a infrequently used convention center.

Above all
Quit lying about how we can bring back Broad. St. for a few more Million$$$.

Augusta is only hovering at room temperature because of Consolidation, it should have been dead long ago.

myfather15
55764
Points
myfather15 08/31/13 - 09:03 am
4
0
Nocnoc

I agree!! Greedy business owners have figured it out!! You want to make a LOT of money? Get friends in positions of political power and get government contracts!! It's MUCH easier than depending on the free market and convincing the PEOPLE to buy a product or service from you!!

soapy_725
43757
Points
soapy_725 08/31/13 - 09:05 am
0
0
Augusta has been brain dead and on life support since 1970.
Unpublished

Augusta has been brain dead and on life support since 1970.

soapy_725
43757
Points
soapy_725 08/31/13 - 09:07 am
0
0
"The Money Pit" is a great analogy. Sadly,a joke is on taxpayers
Unpublished

"The Money Pit" is a great analogy. Sadly,a joke is on taxpayers

soapy_725
43757
Points
soapy_725 08/31/13 - 09:08 am
0
0
The black community is drinking the koolaid and voting. Bad news
Unpublished

The black community is drinking the koolaid and voting. Bad news

soapy_725
43757
Points
soapy_725 08/31/13 - 09:09 am
0
0
Never wanted to live near Detroit. A future nightmare?
Unpublished

Never wanted to live near Detroit. A future nightmare?

itsanotherday1
45435
Points
itsanotherday1 08/31/13 - 09:12 am
9
0
As Rev. Manning so aptly

As Rev. Manning so aptly says; 'most black people are "black" first, above all else. They see everything through "black" eyes.' That is the problem with the commission, they put their own cultural interests above everything else because they are blinded. There may be legitimate reasons to think like that, based on historical events; but nevertheless is the reason Augusta can't move forward. That and good 'ol boy control.

itsanotherday1
45435
Points
itsanotherday1 08/31/13 - 09:16 am
2
2
Regency

The cheapest and best use of that eyesore is to demolish it and dig a lake there. Make it a park with a walking path around it, plant trees, etc. Southside people would enjoy a place to walk and sit in the shade.

Little Lamb
46969
Points
Little Lamb 08/31/13 - 09:19 am
4
0
Private Property

Please re-read my 8:43 post, IAD. Regency Mall is private property.

nocnoc
45017
Points
nocnoc 08/31/13 - 09:24 am
4
0
itsanotherday1 - Another Park

I have to respectfully disagree with the idea of a park.

ARC needs to increase it PAYING tax base.

How about a Mini-village concept with CONDO's, NO rental apartments, and a 10 store strip mall, with supermarket, gas station,
a Doctor/Dentist office, a Movie theater and etc..

Little Lamb
46969
Points
Little Lamb 08/31/13 - 09:43 am
2
1
Razor

Don't forget the wrought iron fence all around the property with razor wire at the top. Secure gates at all entrances will be de riguer.

gargoyle
18618
Points
gargoyle 08/31/13 - 10:36 am
3
1
The Regency mall is the least

The Regency mall is the least of the problems for that area of Gordon Hwy. , Privately owned and property taxes paid. Its not the Elephant in that area the problems that hasten its closure and hinder the sale of the property are. As far as I know the owners have been willing to sell but are not willing to give it away and have fought government efforts to steal it from them.

Riverman1
86975
Points
Riverman1 08/31/13 - 09:56 am
2
0
Bophuthatswana

The CSRA reminds me of the old South African homeland system where separate nation-states were created for different ethnic groups. Bophuthatswana was the best example of the system.

deestafford
28713
Points
deestafford 08/31/13 - 10:00 am
1
0
Malls die when thuggery moves in

and it is not nipped in the bud. There have to be standards established and enforced by the owners. If people don't feel safe and in a culturally clean environment they are not coming. I would imagine that some of the "undesirables" are generating some of the money the owners need to survive.

countyman
20588
Points
countyman 08/31/13 - 10:33 am
1
6
Facts

The same thing happens across the US, and then people move back into the urban core.. Columbia County specifically Evans/Martinez became the place for white conservatives, but that's pretty much over with now.

Why didn't the article include the 2010-2012 estimates?

Probably because Richmond County and Aiken County gained around the same number of people..

Along with Richmond County closing the gap on Columbia County. Columbia County only grew 5% faster compared to Richmond in the latest estimate. Nowhere close to the 40% vs .3% growth in the last decade.

Richmond County will grow faster compared to Aiken County in the next census, and eventually surpass Columbia County....

The facts suggest the majority of private commercial investment is coming to Richmond County in 2013.

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